The condensed version: Bruce Gradkowski threw a couple of passes and put himself in the picture to be the backup with a very good pregame workout. Darren McFadden will be a game-time decision with a hamstring injury.
Here is coach Tom Cable’s briefing with reporters Friday in preparation to face the 49ers:
Cable: OK, quick update: Higgins would be limited today, questionable. Schilens did not practice; he’s out. Gallery was full; he’s probable. Loper was full; he’s probable. Bennett did not practice; he’s out. McFadden as limited; he’s questionable. Gradkowski did not practice but he’s much better and threw a couple of balls so he would be questionable at this state, this stage. Goethel did not practice; he’s out. Groves , limited; he’s questionable. Thomas Howard did not practice; he’s out. John Henderson did not practice; he’s out. And Jeremy Ware practiced full; he’s probable.”
Q: How would you describe practice?
Cable: It’s good. It’s kind of a wrap-up to the week and then we’ll close it out tomorrow with meetings and walk-through and all that.”
Q: Who’s going to start at quarterback?
Cable: Who will start at quarterback? Jason Campbell will.
Q:If Bruce has a good pre-game he could be back-up?
Q: How do you feel about Jason now that he’s gone through the benching and then had some success?
Cable: Oh, very good. I think 12 of 14 in the second half was pretty impressive, no matter whoever you are. So I’m great.
Q:How would you describe the interaction in the quarterback room?
Cable: It’s always like a big study session. They’re always working, talking. Talking situations – how would you handle this? Do you see this? They all study so much film I think every one of them brings something to the table, some tendencies, some body language, some something that helps the guys that are playing.
Q:Is McFadden close to being able to play?
Cable: He feels pretty good so let’s keep it moving in that direction.
Q: He’ll work out on the field before the game?
Cable: He’ll be working out, yup (before they decide)
Q: Have you spent much time discussing that the 49ers are 0-5, or do you even approach that topic?
Cable: We spend all our time on us. We’re certainly preparing for them and we know they’re a very good team that has had some struggles. When I say very good, look at them defensively and the amount of pressure they bring, their ability to run the ball, some of those things that turnovers have really knocked them out of being the kind of team that they want to be. We’re very aware of what they are and how good they can be.
Q:How happy are you with your team’s focus this week?
Cable: I am, because we talked about it right after that San Diego win: how we needed to handle this week. And there’s kind of been a reminder every day — of what the purpose is and what we need to do to succeed this Sunday. So, I feel really good about it.
Q: But you can’t really tell until game time? You probably thought preparation had been good after previous wins as well?
Cable: Absolutely. So it will be a test for us how we come out and play on Sunday. The expectation is high, definitely.
Q: How important to jump on them early?
Cable: This will be a dogfight. This game will be down to the wire. It will be decided in the fourth quarter.
Q: How was Huff playing before the last series and the forced fumble?
Cable: Really a tremendous game. He was tackling well, he was covering well. We felt as a staff, and I said this Monday as well, that our safeties played real well. It’s the corners; we need to be a little more aggressive and firmer, tighter in our coverage. Our safeties played well.
Q: How do you guard against the 49ers coming out desperate, running trick plays, doing anything it takes . . .
Cable: Some of those things would come back to them in terms of what our plan is. When I think about this game, I understand that team and what it’s going through. So, it’s a dangerous animal. You don’t think for one second that they’re 0-5. This is going to be a hell of a football game.”
Q: How would you describe the 49ers offense?
Cable:: They would love to get the run game going, let it lead them. I really believe that. They want to find the tight end, they want to find Crabtree, in that order, but it all starts with the run game. If you had three things you got to check off your list, it’s stop the run, it’s defend the tight end and defend Crabtree.
Q: Do the 49ers use the play-action much once they get the run game going?
Cable: They can, yes.
Q: Has their offense changed much since changing coordinators?
Cable: Not really.
Q: Does your offensive game plan change with Campbell at the helm?
Cable: No, not at all. You got to remember, now, there’s 10 other guys in that huddle, so there’s a system in place. Now, there’s some strengths of Jason that you would want to kind of lean to a little bit, just as you would do with Bruce. In terms of saying it would change or be different, no.
Q: Did trash-talking in camp 2009 training camp practice stoke the rivalry?
Cable: I know that when you go between the lines, all that talk don’t mean nothing. That’s what I know.
More to come later . . .